In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, the conversation around feminism has gained strength, with women everywhere coming out hard to express their stances on a variety of important issues. Feminists in Hollywood are saying 鈥淭ime鈥檚 Up!鈥 to the power imbalances that have led to an epidemic of sexual assault in their 鈥 and other 鈥 industries, women across the work force are pushing harder for equal pay, and there is renewed pressure in politics to recognize historically underrepresented women and minorities. This exciting wave of feminism has been a call to action for millennial women everywhere, and has given a voice to female figures throughout history whose stories have yet to be told. One such group of women? The cyberfeminists 鈥 a group that millennials should have a particular fondness for, given their key role in launching the technologies that we rely on today.

VICE reporter Claire L. Evans explores the world of cyberfeminism in her book Broad Band:聽The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet ($27). In it, she sheds a light on female visionaries throughout history 鈥 as early as 1842, all the way through the cyberpunk 鈥90s 鈥 who helped give us the World Wide Web that we so love (and love to hate).

Growing up, Evans says she always had access to computers, especially because her father worked for INTEL. 鈥淚 grew up online, thinking of myself as a net native,鈥 she tells us. 鈥淚 never felt鈥 that computers were for boys or for girls 鈥 and even though I wasn鈥檛 technical, I could share my love of computers with my father.鈥

For years, the author 鈥渄efined [herself] in relation to the internet,鈥 a definition that began to feel a bit fuzzier in recent years. 鈥淭he internet began to feel inhospitable to me as a person, and more importantly, as a woman,鈥 Evans says. 鈥淗ad it ever been my country? What even is it? Who is it for? This book began as an attempt to understand something I鈥檇 always taken for granted, and as a search for a lineage which might include me.鈥

Broad Band explores this lineage of cyberfeminists, a movement that Evans believes has been largely lost to history. The word itself was coined by British cultural theorist Sadie Plant and Australian art collective VNS Matrix in 1991, the early days of 鈥渃yberculture.鈥 Cyberfeminists designed computer games, wrote digital novels, experimented with text-based virtual realities, and more. They saw the burgeoning internet as 鈥渢he solution to many of the problems facing women,鈥 Evans says.

Broad Band contains enough cyberfeminist history to blow your mind, and Evans gave us a sneak peek with six key things you need to know about the movement and the women who made it happen.

1. The word 鈥渃omputer鈥 once described a job that was primarily filled by women. According to Evans, the first known instance of the word 鈥渃omputer鈥 in print was a classified listing in the New York Times advertising a computing job at the US Naval Observatory. For decades, jobs like this 鈥 not high-tech objects 鈥 were associated with the word 鈥渃omputer鈥濃 and said roles were typically staffed by women. Quite a way to start the cyberfeminist movement, don鈥檛 you think?

2. Betty Holberton suggested the signature color for desktop computers. Programmer Holberton recommended beige as an alternative to black for the casings of desktop computers. Her engineer colleagues took the idea to heart, and we now have a cyberfeminist to thank for the oatmeal-colored monitors that fill our memories of elementary school computer labs (and hours spent playing 鈥淥regon Trail鈥).

3. The Echo social community paved the way for women online. In the internet鈥檚 early days (the late 鈥80s and early 鈥90s), women made up just 10 percent of its user base overall鈥 except Echo. A social community founded by Stacy Horn, Echo was an early home for women on the web. Forty percent of its users were women!

4. A woman鈥檚 experience exploring caves was the inspiration for the first ever computer game. The world鈥檚 inaugural computer game was called 鈥淎dventure,鈥 and while it was created by a man named Will Crowther, it was inspired by Crowther and his ex-wife Patricia鈥檚 efforts to map a series of cave tunnels in Kentucky. Patricia herself was a world-famous caver well-known for forging a single cave spanning 340 miles 鈥 and without her contribution to the gaming world, we all may have missed out on 鈥淭he Sims鈥 and 鈥淩oller Coaster Tycoon鈥 entirely.

5. Elizabeth 鈥淛ake鈥 Feinler was the one who decided to split the internet into multiple domains. You know how we make distinctions between .edu, .gov, .com, etc.? A woman came up with that idea. Feinler 鈥 who ran the early internet鈥檚 central information office (which is cool in itself) 鈥 suggested that sites be categorized according to type.

6. Many women worked on developing hypertext systems. Before the World Wide Web became the most popular form of hypertext and the internet that we know today, many women worked on developing alternative systems. Janet Walker, for one, developed the first system to include bookmarking technology, which is widely used in the modern online space for saving favorite sites.

Have you heard the term 鈥渃yberfeminism?鈥 Tweet us @BritandCo!

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(Photos via Penguin Random House)